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5 Reasons To Care About IFT Cares

IFT Cares volunteers packing and sorting.This summer during the week that the Annual Meeting & Food Expo takes place in New Orleans, several dozen IFT members will donate their time and energy to help fight hunger as part of the annual IFT Cares initiative.

It’s a hands-on project. On Saturday morning, June 11, volunteers will travel to the Plaquemines Parish outside the city to help distribute food delivered by a mobile pantry. On Wednesday, June 15, volunteers will be busy packing boxes of food at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, a member of the Feeding America network.

2011 marks the fourth year that IFT has teamed with Feeding America and a local food bank for this volunteer service program. What makes this program so meaningful? Well, lots of things, but here’s the short list.

  1. An activity that revolves around feeding people in need makes perfect sense for an organization dedicated to “feeding the minds that feed the world” and with a membership composed of food scientists and technologists—professionals committed to improving and advancing our food supply.
  2. Each year, the volunteer sessions bring together some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet—people who tend to believe that taking a little time out to help someone else is a good idea—and may even be life-enriching. Members of IFT’s leadership are typically well represented among the volunteers.
  3. There are far too many people in New Orleans and the surrounding area who are grappling with hunger. An estimated 11% of Louisiana households are food insecure, meaning that their access Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleansto adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources. Many of the clients of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Louisiana are hard-working people who just cannot make ends meet and may wind up going without food for several meals—or even days!
  4. The food bank in New Orleans has been extra-busy in recent months, lending support and providing resources to residents of states affected by the devastating tornadoes that struck the Southeast this spring. Network-wide, Feeding America provided support to residents in 11 states in the wake of the tornadoes.
  5. IFT Cares helps raise awareness about the need to fight hunger throughout the United States, and more awareness is desperately needed. Did you know that according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 49 million Americans don’t have dependable, consistent access to enough food? Each year, the Feeding America network provides emergency food assistance to more than 25 million Americans, including more than 9 million children and almost 3 million seniors. Find out how to help at feedingamerica.org or by e-mailing iftcares@ift.org.

Have you volunteered with IFT Cares in New Orleans, Anaheim, or Chicago? What did the experience mean to you?

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